We discovered the most famous Venetian dishes and now it's time to discover the best desserts of Venice. Of course Venetian cuisine is full of sweet traditions that come from the time of the Serenissima.
In this article, we will discover many typical desserts that you can taste only here. And no, we won't talk about the best tiramisu, because it definitely comes from the nearby city of Treviso!
So let this sweet journey begin!
Top 10 of the best desserts in Venice: great ice cream, chocolate and much more...
As soon as you arrive in Venice, you will find many local pastry shops, displaying appetizing biscuits, cakes and much more.
Any time of the year you come, in Venice you will see different desserts. We have desserts from Christmas, Carnival, and so on.
Let's discover the most famous ones here.
10. The famous Fritoe
We start from here, from the classic Venetian frittelle.
It seems that the "frittella", as we know it today, was created for the first time during the Roman Ages, when durum wheat flour and cheese were mixed together. However, there is a document that shows that a pastry quite similar to "frittelle" was produced around the XIV century.
The Fritoleri, the artisans who prepared these sweets in the past
The "Fritoleri" were easily recognizable people, as they wore large white aprons and they approached the passerby with colorful gestures. They in fact used to work on the streets and their shops are nothing more than a place to display their sweets.
Nowadays, they are available in all pastry shops, bakeries, patisseries and even supermarkets in the Veneto region.
They are especially prepared during the Carnival period and they are easily recognizable because, despite the other types of frittelle, the Venetian ones are covered by sugar. Additionally, they are filled with raisins.
However, sometimes you can also find them filled with cream or chocolate sauce.
9. Zaeti, sometimes also called Zaleti or Zaletìn
Zaeti are the most famous Venetian biscuits. They were actually famous in the past not only in Venice but in the entire country. In fact, in the XIX century, they were mentioned in the most famous recipe books of the time, and they were called with their Venetian name, Zaeti.
They are made with corn flour, one of the cheapest ingredients that also poor Venetians were able to purchase in the past. In addition to corn flour, preparing the Zaeti requires raisins, wheat flour, sugar, lemon or orange peel, as well as butter, grappa and eggs.
They are perfect for breakfast or for a moment of relaxation with a glass of wine.
8. The famous Fugassa, made at Easter
The Fugassa (as it is called in the Venetian dialect) is a tasty cake, characterized by a very soft, well leavened dough.
Quick history of the Fugassa
It became the typical dessert of Easter in the XV century, thanks to a baker from the near city of Treviso. He was inspired by the Egyptian Christians to create a new type of sweet bread, enriched with eggs, sugar and butter. Using eggs, in fact, was a clear symbol of the Resurrection of Christ.
A few centuries later, this religious symbol became a symbol of love, being the treasure chest for the engagement ring given to the future brides. It was not long before the Venetian fugassa started to appear also in the wedding banquets.
Today the dough is enriched with new aromas, but the main characteristic of this dessert still remains its simplicity.
However, a major change happened to fugassa, because nowadays it has become the symbol of Christmas instead of Easter, and it is often served covered by powdered sugar.
7. The Favette, called the Beans of the Dead
Among the most typical traditional sweets, there is the so-called Beans of the Dead. As it says the name, they are prepared and eaten just on the Anniversary of the Dead, on November 2nd (a different celebration from All Souls' Day).
Preparing the Favette requires just 4 ingredients, which are egg whites, sugar and pine nuts, or almonds. If you want to create a white bean you'll add vanilla or Rum. For the brown favetta you'll add cocoa and for the pink one you'll simply add Alchermes, an Italian liquor.
6. The best ice cream with gianduiotto chocolate sauce
When in Italy, eat gelato like an Italian!
Even if ice cream is not typical of Venice, we have many good gelaterie also here. Here you can taste all your favorite flavors, from pistachio to chocolate.
However, in our opinion the most amazing gelato is the one with gianduiotto sauce, made in Dorsoduro Sestiere. Gianduiotto is a sauce made of gianduja, which is a type of chocolate made of cocoa and nuts.
You can eat the gelato all year round (Venetians prefer eating them during warmer days).
5. The San Martino, the great biscuit resembling a Saint
Venetians simply called this great shortbread biscuit San Martino. In fact, the shape of this biscuit resembles a knight on his horse, which is indeed San Martino.
The biscuit is covered by other sweets, like chocolate, colored sugar paste and anything children (and adults, of course) may like!
You can find this dessert only in November, before the San Martino day (on November 11th) and only in the pastry shops of Venice.
4. The Venetian pinsa, a dessert somehow similar to a sweet pizza
The tasty pinsa is also made of very simple ingredients. It is often prepared by recycling some leftovers.
It consists of a dough which has to be as low as a pizza (pizza and pinsa have quite the same name). The internal part of the pinsa has to be humid, while the external part is more fragrant.
The dough is made of flour, stale bread, eggs, sugar, butter and sometimes also honey, raisings, pine nuts and figs.
The pinsa in Venice is also called the Marantega Cake because it's the typical dessert of the Feast of the Marantega (Heg Feast, on January 6th).
3. The Crema fritta alla Veneziana (the Venetian style fried cream)
This is another popular dessert made of poor ingredients. It is perfect for reusing a leftover custard, making a mouth-watering end to a meal or as a dessert for a buffet dinner.
Crema fritta during Carnival
It is a dessert related to the cold season, prepared both during the holiday season and for the Carnival period in anticipation of the period of abstention from delicacies proper to Lent.
In Venice, during Carnival, fried cream can be found in all the bacari (the typical Venetian osteria) and in the windows of bakers and pastry shops, from the day of St. Anthony the Abbot, January 17, until Shrove Tuesday.
But it is a delicacy that is never missing in the homes of Venetians, especially as a holiday snack.
2. The Bussolai (or Bussolà), another delicious type of biscuits
Bussolai are another type of biscuits, especially made in the island of Burano. In fact, they are also called Buranei. They typically have the shape of a doughnut or the shape of an S (in this case they are called esse buranei).
They originated as an Easter dessert, but are now found all year round.
As their dough is particularly rich, in the past they were eaten by fishermen looking for energy after a period away from home. They are flavored with lemon, rum, vanilla and often have chocolate chips.
1. The Spumiglie (or Meringhe) and the popular Baci in Gondola
Another popular dessert of the Venetian cuisine is surely the Spumiglia, sometimes also called Meringa.
In Venice, they are delicacies: crumbly on the outside, soft on the inside. As fluffy as clouds, you can find them in all flavors, such as the "Baci in gondola", which represents the meeting of two white meringues held together by dark chocolate.
Among these 10 best desserts in Venice, which one would you like to taste?
As you saw, Venetian desserts are prepared with very poor ingredients but they are really related to the past and the history of the city.
Many of these desserts come from the time of the Serenissima Republic, sometimes they are even older.
Of course in Venice we do love traditions and we love sharing them with visitors and tourists.
We can't wait to see you in Venice!